Friday, August 13, 2010


I was probably in 3rd grade at Mary Calcott School in Norfolk, Virginia. Somehow I sprained my skinny ankle and limped along the hallway after the dismissal bell rang, telling no one I was hurt. But I soon realized I could never walk the usual 4 blocks home. Home was 315 E. Chester Street.

Star is school, home is 168 circle.

Mary Calcott Elementary School

137 E Westmont Ave., Norfolk, VA

So I hobbled into the office.

"May I please use the phone to call my Mama to come pick me up?"

Someone handed it to me so I dialed JU-35516. (JU was for justice. I'm amazed I remember this.)

Daddy answered, "Hello."

I clutched the phone close to my lips so nobody would hear, afraid I would cry, "Daddy, I hurt my ankle and can't walk very good. Can you or Mama drive here and pick me up?"

"Kathy, Mama took the car and won't be back for awhile. Can you get out to the front of the school?"

It was just a few more yards, "Yes sir," I sniffed.

"Then go there and wait. I'll do something."

Something. But what? When? How?

I don't remember how long I sat there on the retainer wall at the top of the school steps peering for a blue Buick. All the other kids were long gone. I sat there quite alone.

Mary Calcott Elementary School Norfolk VA picture

I saw a dot coming my way but it was too small to be our car. As it neared I realized it was just someone on a bike. Finally I saw the long legs pumping that girl's bike and recognized the lanky figure coming my way.

It's Daddy! He's riding my bike! Coming to rescue me!

I limped down the steps to meet him. He probably looked quite silly as a tall Navy man on an undersized kid's bike. A girl's at that! He didn't care how he looked. But to me he looked like a knight in shining armor, galloping on a white stallion. Few words were said. He just smiled and nodded for me to mount on back.

I was about 3 years old in this earlier shot but you can clearly
see why he earned his Navy nickname, Legs Tippett.

As I wrapped my scrawny arms around his waist and clung, I finally buried my head into his T shirt and cried softly. "You OK back there, Sis?"

"Yes sir." I am now.

Daddy's broad shoulders blocked my view all the way home. I felt the sway as he rounded corners, heard the rush of cars around us, felt the wind dry my tears. Felt safe, even if not yet home. Daddy's long legs pumped, knees flying high until he got me home.

If Daddy was still alive I doubt he'd even remember that day. But I've thought back on that afternoon many times.

Ricky and I loved posing with that old Buick.

Easter Sunday Ricky and Bert with me at 315 E. Chester St.

There've been times life slammed me so hard I couldn't walk another step. My heavenly Father came to my rescue. But when I first cried out, I still wondered what? When? How? It may not have been in the way or time I'd expected but He was never late. I clung to Him, blinded by my own tears. God often blocked my view. I couldn't see the future or understand the reasons for my pain. But I trusted Him because He loved me like Daddy. He'd keep me safe, get me home.

I had a godly father who gave me a good picture of a loving God, my Abba Papa. You may have had that or not. But the perfect Father is available to you. He knows your hurts, loves you more than His own life and wants to come help you. He just waits for your call.

Call. Cling. Trust.

He'll get you home safely.


If you're impacted by this blog or the following video , please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Leaning on the everlasting arms,


  1. Jack's my hero and writing mentor. I want to be Jack when I grow up. . .all but the editor part.
    Jack Williams to me
    show details 2:00 PM (1 hour ago)

    Navy guys make great fathers, especially when leading a cavalry charge on a girl’s bike. Navy daughters make great writers, especially when they wonder if Dad would remember the moment—he would!


  2. Marilyn (was Jack's assistant) to me
    show details 3:40 PM (7 minutes ago)

    This is so good . . . . I sent information to friends (both FWB and non-FWB) about how to connect to your blog and read it. I love the account of your daddy's creative rescue, and I loved the video.


    Love and Blessings,

    P.S. Our phone numbers started with YU (for Yukon). Now why we had that in Southern Illinois is anyone's guess.

  3. Brenda Walker Ragan commented on your link.

    Brenda wrote:
    "Awesome story, Kathy, made me cry!"

  4. Christine Tippett Ellis commented on your link.

    Christine wrote:
    "Love it, love it, love it! :)"

  5. A wonderful reminder and a beautiful picture of God's faithfulness and strength.

  6. Rodney Whaley is a friend, alumni of our college and an Army officer. He wrote:
    The beauty of this is that we (people who attended FWBBC in the 60-70s) knew Senior Chief Elbert Tippett. I remember one day at FWBBC they were having recognition of those who had served our country. Back then, FWBBC had a lot of veterans in the waning years of Viet Nam. The guest speaker was Mr. Tippett. He stood up there, grand and tall in his Navy dress uniform, behind the pulpit, and shared more in about 10 minutes than any preacher ever did behind that chapel pulpit. He instilled a great measure of patriotism in me that is still with me today. He and Mrs. Tippett were two of the most beautiful and gracious people I have ever known, as is Bert. Bert got it honestly.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Evelyn Upright wrote on facebook:

    That was precious, Kathy. I remember your dad from when he worked at the Bible College. However that was a long time ago.

  8. Facebook to me
    show details 8:57 PM (27 minutes ago)
    Ginger Riley commented on your status.

    Ginger wrote:
    I remember your dad from FWBBC too...long time ago, however. Precious memories, how they linger.